Delivery truck accidents are incredibly complex because there are often multiple liable parties, including the delivery truck driver, the trucking company, the loading company, or a mechanic.
Due to the sheer size and weight of delivery trucks, when they contribute to accidents, the victims are often left with severe injuries that cause damages exceeding insurance policy limits. That is why it is important to explore every possible avenue for compensation with the help of an attorney.
At Abraham Watkins, we have been helping personal injury victims in Texas for over seven decades. We are one of the longest-serving law firms in the state and have a strong reputation for success. We have a long list of victories behind us, and our dedication has won us awards such as US News and World Report Best Law Firms of 2023.
We believe that all victims deserve access to high-quality legal representation, which is why we offer a free consultation and work on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee means we only get paid if your case succeeds. If you do not win compensation, then we will not be paid anything, so you can never be left out of pocket for seeking help.
If you or someone you love has suffered an injury or been killed in a delivery truck accident or car accident, contact us today and find out what we can do for you.
Arrange a free consultation with a personal injury attorney today at 713-535-9319.
Who Could be Liable For My Damages After a Delivery Truck Accident?
In order to claim compensation following a truck accident, your attorney will need to establish fault. To be at fault for an accident, that party must have behaved negligently. Multiple parties commonly contribute to the accident in truck accident cases through their negligent behaviors.
Common liable parties in truck accidents include:
The Delivery Company
When a truck is involved in an accident, it is common for the employer to share in the liability. Trucking companies have been known to have negligent workplace practices, and if this is the case, the truck driver may also be a victim. Some examples include:
- Failure to Adhere to Federal Regulations – Federal regulations have been implemented to prevent truck accidents, and trucking companies must comply with them. An experienced truck accident lawyer can evaluate your case to determine whether the trucking company violated these regulations.
- Encouraging Bad Practices – Some trucking companies may motivate their drivers to drive for extended periods without adequate rest breaks. They may do this by assigning long shifts for consecutive days, setting tight deadlines, or using pay-per-mile schemes that only compensate drivers for the distance they travel rather than for all the time-consuming aspects of the job. This approach can incentivize drivers to forgo breaks or overload their vehicles.
- Negligent Hiring Practices – Trucking companies must conduct thorough background checks to verify that their drivers do not have previous charges for negligent driving practices, such as driving under the influence or driving recklessly;
- Inadequate Training – Trucking companies must provide appropriate training to their employees and ensure that they possess the necessary licenses to operate their vehicles.
- Poor Maintenance – Trucks must be properly maintained to prevent accidents from occurring. If they fail in this duty and it results in an accident, they could be held liable.
Maintaining high standards for trucking companies is crucial in preventing the significant damage their vehicles can cause. By holding them accountable for their negligent actions, you can recover compensation and help make the roads safer by exerting pressure on them to reform their practices.
When cargo is not carefully loaded onto a truck, it can cause weight imbalances. This imbalance can happen when the weight is not adequately balanced or because cargo shifts or falls during transport. When this happens, the truck can be thrown off balance, which can lead to accidents.
It’s common for trucking companies to use third-party loading companies, and if this was the cause of your accident, then the cargo company could be liable for your damages.
The Delivery Driver
All road users have a duty to those around them. But for drivers of delivery trucks, it is especially important that they take great care while driving as the vehicles they are operating have the potential to cause great harm.
Delivery drivers are under stricter regulations than drivers of smaller vehicles. For example, it’s legal for delivery drivers to operate their vehicles with a BAC of 0.04% or above in Texas. This regulation is a higher standard than for other drivers, for which it is 0.08% or above.
A truck driver can be found negligent if they acted recklessly or ignored the rules of the road. However, it is also common for the truck driver to only be partially responsible, and for both the driver and the trucking company to be to blame.
For example, if they caused an accident because they were fatigued, they could be partially to blame. However, the trucking company may have encouraged long hours of driving and they could also be liable for a percentage of your damages.
A delivery truck is made up of hundreds of parts. The manufacturer of these parts and those responsible for assembling the entire truck have a duty of care to ensure their parts or vehicles are safe. If a delivery truck accident resulted from a defective part such as a brake failure, a defective tire, or failing electrical systems, then the manufacturer could be at fault.
If a mechanical error contributed to your accident and it should have been picked up by a mechanic who should have diagnosed and repaired it, then it’s possible for them to hold some liability.
In a trucking accident, it is also possible for another road user to share liability. For example, perhaps the truck that crashed into you was swerving out of the way of a reckless driver. In this case, they could both have a degree of liability.
Sometimes a government agency responsible for maintaining the road can be found liable for accidents. If poor road conditions, such as a pothole, contributed to your accident, then your attorney will be able to track down who was responsible for maintaining the road and whether they were neglectful in their duties.
Multiple At-Fault Parties in Texas Delivery Truck Accidents
In accordance with state law, multiple parties can share liability in Texas. Shared liability means that you may be suing multiple parties if you are a victim in a car accident. This is because of a doctrine known as modified comparative fault.
If, for example, if a truck driver caused an accident because they were fatigued, then they could be found 20% at fault for the accident. However, the trucking company that encouraged them to work for long hours without adequate breaks could be 80% at fault for the accident. Your attorney will help you claim compensation from both parties up to their degree of fault. It is essential that a claim is made against each at-fault party. Otherwise, you could end up with less than what you deserve.
If you were partially at fault for the accident, then this will also be considered. For example, if you were speeding, but the truck driver was under the influence, then they could be found to be 90% at fault for the accident, and you 10%. In this case, your settlement would be reduced by 10% to reflect your degree of fault. Therefore, a $100,000 settlement would become $90,000.
Cases that involve multiple liable parties are highly complex. Your attorney may be negotiating with several insurance companies who are all fighting to reduce the degree of fault in order to pay you less. Cases involving multiple parties are also more likely to go to court, which means that your attorney will need to present your case to a Judge or jury who will assign the percentage of fault to each liable party.
Due to the severity of truck accidents and the large value of damages, it is often necessary to explore multiple avenues to compensation in order to secure a settlement that truly reflects your losses.
A delivery truck accident attorney from Abraham Watkins has a wealth of experience in truck accidents and cases involving comparative negligence. We will advocate fiercely on your behalf and give you the best chance of securing the settlement you deserve.
Delivery Truck Accident Lawsuit
When answering the question of who you sue after a delivery truck accident, it is important to understand that most personal injury cases result in an out-of-court settlement.
Court cases are time-consuming and expensive, so it’s not usually in the liable party’s best interests to go to court. However, cases involving multiple liable parties are more likely to go to court due to their complexity and the contentious nature of deciding the degree of fault each party should be assigned.
At Abraham Watkins, we understand when to negotiate a settlement and when a court case is necessary to protect our clients’ rights. It is also important that you have the help of an attorney who is willing to go to court. Attorneys have a reputation with other legal teams, such as those at insurance companies. If they know that your attorney is a skilled trial lawyer, then they may try harder to avoid court by offering a fair settlement rather than risk losing more in court.
How Is Liability Determined After a Delivery Truck Accident?
To determine who is at fault, your attorney must establish who acted negligently.
To build a case for negligence, your attorney will need to prove the following points.
- Duty – The at-fault party had a legal responsibility, or duty of care, to avoid causing harm. This duty applies to all road users and requires them to keep others safe;
- Breach – The at-fault party breached their duty of care by acting negligently, which means their behavior deviated from what a reasonable person would have done in similar circumstances. For example, a truck driver who fails to take a break when feeling drowsy may breach their duty of care;
- Causation – The breach of duty directly caused the accident that led to your injuries. For instance, if the truck driver who failed to take a break caused the accident by falling asleep at the wheel, this could be considered causation;
- Proximate Cause – The liable party’s actions must be sufficiently related to the accident and not out of the ordinary. If their actions created an unforeseeable risk, this could prevent them from being found liable;
- Damages – To pursue a valid claim, the accident must have resulted in measurable losses, such as medical bills or lost wages.
What Damages Can I Claim After a Delivery Truck Accident?
In a successful truck accident claim, you will be able to claim for your losses which are known as damages. Damages include both economic and non-economic losses. Your economic losses could include your medical expenses, both past and future, while your non-economic damages, known as pain and suffering, compensate you for your mental anguish and loss of enjoyment in life.
Your delivery truck accident lawyer will help you establish what damages are available to you and what their value is. They will then use this figure to fight for a fair settlement in your case.
Some of the damages you may be able to claim include:
- Lost Wages – Serious injuries can force victims to take extended time away from work to recover, potentially causing a loss of income. A truck accident lawyer can help determine the amount of lost wages by calculating your average income and the length of time you were unable to work. If your injuries are ongoing, then lost earning capacity could also be considered;
- Medical Expenses – Truck accident victims often incur extensive medical bills, including costs for surgery, medication, physical therapy, and transportation to appointments. It is also common for their injuries to be ongoing or even life-long. An experienced attorney can help you fight for compensation for all medical expenses, both past and future;
- Pain and Suffering – Non-economic losses such as emotional distress, physical pain, psychological trauma, or life-altering injuries are often the biggest loss people experience after a truck accident. Pain and suffering damages may be challenging to establish, but an attorney can help you fight for a fair settlement;
- Exemplary Damages – In rare cases, a Judge may award exemplary damages or punitive damages to punish the at-fault party or deter similar behavior in the future. These damages are only available in cases involving gross negligence, fraud, or malice.
I Was Hit by a Delivery Truck, Who Can I Sue?
If you or a loved one has been involved in a delivery truck accident in Texas, it’s vital to seek the help of an experienced attorney. Your attorney will identify who is liable and will fight for the compensation you deserve.
At Abraham Watkins, everyone should have access to legal representation without an upfront cost. That is why we offer a free consultation and work on a no-win, no-fee basis, ensuring that you don’t pay unless we win your case. With over 70 years of experience serving the people of Texas, we have the knowledge and skills to advocate fiercely on your behalf.Arrange a free consultation with one of our delivery truck accident lawyers at 713-535-9319 today.